Friday, September 1, 2000

The Mount: Of Truths and Trips and Writing Hacks and Ravages and Queen

I’m writing this a day after I got back from a trip. I’ve spent the last three days making preparations to move into an apartment just off the campus of the college I will begin attending in just one months’ time. I was just taking care of the basic things you do when you move. Set up the apartment, make sure the utilities are taken care of, setting up a checking account… and of course, finding a new comics shop. I won’t go into detail, mostly because I did go into detail talking about it with Michael, and he immediately told me to shut up and "go marry it if you like it so much". I will say that the one I found is a lot better than the one where I am now and that had I the cash with me, I could have completed my Green Arrow collection that day.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m bothering to tell you this since it has no relation to comics, other than my note about the amazing new store I found. The simple answer is that there area lot of things I will need to set up once I am there that I couldn’t do on this last trip. Among these are opening an account with the campus Internet Provider, who for some odd reason don’t open new accounts until a week after classes start. As such, it may be difficult if not nigh impossible for me to get anything written for a few weeks. Of course those few weeks are going to be during when the new issue is due out. And since I try to keep all the stuff I talk about current, I can’t write one ahead of time. So if there isn’t a "Mount" next month, please don’t panic. I haven’t quit or been fired. I’m just dealing with real life. All right? That said, let’s get on to what’s bugging me this month.

First up is Gotham Knights #6. There’s been a bit of controversy over this book because of a major revelation that came out regarding Barbara Gordon’s parentage. First of all, let me give the back story. Before Crisis, Barbara Gordon was the birth daughter of Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. Post-Crisis, due to some problems with the age of Jim Gordon during Batman: Year One, it was decided that Barbara was his niece, and was adopted by Jim after her parents (Jim’s brother and his wife) were killed in a car accident. All in all, this was a very satisfactory way to deal with the problem of Jim’s age. Barbara still existed, still was Batgirl and still maintained a good relationship with Jim. In fact, right after I got back into comics, I had been reading Batman for a year before I found out "Hey! Batgirl is adopted?" Jim and Barbara are as close to one another as any birth father and his daughter could be.

Well, some people feel that Barbara was being cheated by not getting to have Jim as her actual, birth father. One of these people is Gotham Knights writer, Devin Grayson. Grayson said, in a chat at that "I really felt disappointed that Barbara got sort of cheated out of being Jim`s biological daughter". Now, I have to ask one question: Why? It’s not like it has made any difference in the book. I didn’t even know about the adoption after a year of reading the book, until one story I read where the car accident was mentioned. How is Barbara being cheated? She still has the same loving father in Jim post-Crisis that she did pre-Crisis?

The truth is that unless one holds the attitude that adopted children are somehow lesser than birth children, it shouldn’t make one damn bit of difference. If I may, I’d like to tell a brief story that was related to me by a close friend while we were talking about this comic. This friend knows someone who adopted a handicapped child. I will now quote what she said to me…

"This kid was born with a skull deformity that basically crushed most of her cerebral cortex. Mental age never got past about 5…never will. She’s incapable of learning to read and write, has difficulties with speech and no sense of balance at all. She could only walk if led by the hand, or she would literally walk in circles…she had no ability to get to where she was going. Slow, slurred speech. The birth mother refused to have anything to do with the baby, and she was adopted…now, I consider adopting a child like that to be, perhaps, the most…wonderful…thing anyone could do."

Of course, it isn’t just the idea that Babs is somehow less of a character because she’s adopted that has so many fans up in arms about this; it is the way that her "true parentage" was revealed. In Gotham Knights #6, we find that Babs has been holding a letter since she was young which suggests that her birth was the result of an affair between Jim Gordon and her mother. Now, I can understand Grayson’s thinking that making Babs Jim’s biological daughter would make her a better character. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it.

My question is what about the character of Jim Gordon? How does this help him? I mean, suppose that Jim had fathered Barbara and they are truly father and daughter now in all ways. Jim Gordon has always been shown to be a man of strong moral convictions. Doesn’t taking this man, who has always been shown to be great and honorable, and having him have an affair… with his own brother’s wife, no less… lessen his character? Doesn’t it make Jim Gordon less of a man that he fathered an illegitimate child while quite literally breaking a Commandment (The 9th Commandment, depending on translation, can be "Thou Shalt not Covet they Brother’s Wife" instead of neighbor’s wife, so I am told)? I think it does. And I think that it is ludicrous Grayson added in this flaw to Jim’s character in order to fix something which didn’t need fixing in the first place.

Despite this, I’d still rather Grayson be writing Catwoman than Bronwyn Carlton. Thankfully for me and Catwoman fans everywhere, that is no longer a problem. As soon as all the stories written so far are spent, Ed Brubaker is taking over Catwoman. Brubaker, who is also taking over Batman this month, said he is looking forward to taking the book in a new direction. He also noted the intense dislike to the book's recent direction on the DC Comics message board (and everywhere else), saying "Hopefully, they'll like what I do," in a recent Mania interview.

So all you Catwoman fans out there can breathe a little easier…

That goes double for all the Green Arrow fans who are still worried about new writer Kevin Smith being able to maintain a schedule. In the most recent report made on Smith’s news website, the scripts for the first issues are done and turned in. Smith reports that he’s keeping a good pace and thinks that perhaps Issue #1 can make it out before New Years Eve 2001. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that, but I do think we’ll get it about the time it was promised: first quarter 2001. Still, we have a lot to be happy for as the artist for the new Green Arrow book has been announced. It is Phil Hester; former Swamp Thing artist and artist on Clerks: The Comic Book.

No comments:

Post a Comment